The Gold, The Opportunist and The Entrepreneur
By: Tom Caprel
Conventional wisdom often calls the most successful entrepreneurs the ‘ultimate opportunists’, seeing “gold in them thar hills” when all anyone else ever saw were piles of dirt.
I’m reconsidering this conventional wisdom as I have noticed that many entrepreneurs see everything as an opportunity (“chance”)* and are not being opportunistic (“resourcefully taking advantage of all opportunities or situations…”). *
The key word is ‘resourcefully’. In my work with entrepreneurs, I’ve witnessed many business owners who are enticed by bright shiny objects and seduced by the next new dot bomb.
Those entrepreneurs who have a plan to follow and follow their plan, and are therefore not distracted by UFOs (Unidentified Flying Opportunities), have an amplified capability to be “opportunistic”. Most others are chasing the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow, devoid of gold but full of broken hearts, dreams and bank accounts.
If you don’t have an ‘end game’ written down, stop reading and do that NOW. Without the guidepost of an ultimate goal, end game or purpose, you’re destined to flit from one apparent opportunity to the next, all the while wondering why you are unsatisfied and marginally successful.
But this isn’t about a business plan. It’s about being opportunistic.
Critique your idea as an “opportunity” or something you can be “opportunistic” about by asking these questions. This will help you be resourceful about your inspiration or proposal:
Is someone else doing it or has done it?
Does it fit in the sphere of influence you are targeting?
Who’s bringing the idea to you? What’s their track record of success? Are they flourishing? WIIFT (What’s In It For Them?)
Why you? What unique talent, skill, or capability do you bring to the table for this venture?
How long would it take to get done? Are you willing to accept the consequences of taking on the opportunity? Do you really know what those consequences are? Have you asked anyone whom you respect about it?
How much money would take to get it accomplished? Does it scare you? Why?
Can you keep focused on what you are doing now? Is there a plan to get this accomplished?
What’s the end game?
Because the most important questions don’t have a single yes/no answer, I find you need to repeatedly ask these questions until the preponderance of evidence is on one side
or the other. Critical thought and observation are the most important aspects of keeping focus as an entrepreneur, and shaping your next steps.
I’ve always appreciated philosopher and noted author Joseph Campbell’s wisdom about your path forward.
If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step,
you know it's not your path.
Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.
Here’s something I bet you didn’t know: a synonym for the word”opportunist” is entrepreneur.
*Encarta Dictionary, English